In response to the publication of the national Police Race Action Plan today Lisa Winward, Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police said:
“On behalf of North Yorkshire Police, and all our current and former employees, I accept that policing still contains racism, discrimination and bias. I apologise for where North Yorkshire Police has fallen short of the standards we hold ourselves to, and the impact that this has had on individuals, communities and police colleagues.
“However, there is also frustration – both inside and outside of policing – that we have not been able to tackle the accusation of being institutionally racist.
“We have fantastic officers and staff supporting the communities of North Yorkshire who come to work every day to make a positive difference to the lives of everyone we have responsibility for.
“The national Police Race Action Plan proposes that racist bias continues to persist in policing due to our processes and systems. We can’t begin to tackle this issue until we accept that there is a problem in how our force operates. We are going to use the Plan to shine a light on the disparities that exist in how we police our communities and individuals and explain or amend our ways of working. Being anti-racist is about tackling racial disparities proactively and we are committed to continuing to develop our plans to make this a reality.
“We’ll be looking at putting our force plans in place to challenge our own policies, procedures and practice. We want to reach out to our local communities, to be accountable and to demonstrate change. We will be working closely with our Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, in line with the newly published Police & Crime Plan and priority for change in this area - Enhance positive culture, openness, integrity and public trust. In particular to ensure that ‘Inclusivity, diversity and equality are at the heart of North Yorkshire Police's organisational culture and service delivery’.
“A Police Race Action Plan national feedback survey will be launched shortly to allow staff, officers, stakeholders and the public an opportunity to give their opinion on the Plan. I encourage everyone to take part. Race Action Plan Survey
“This is not a threat to policing. The threat is to do nothing or presume that we are doing the best we can. It is absolutely right that we are being challenged, and right that policing should acknowledge where we have got it wrong in the past. Policing nationally has a lot to do. North Yorkshire Police is committed to being proactively anti-racist.”
Commenting on the position being taken by North Yorkshire Police in response to the publication, Sergeant Arfan Rahouf, Chair of North Yorkshire Police Association of Culture and Ethnicity, said:
“Today the Police Race Action Plan has been released, I am pleased to hear that Chief Constable Winward is fully supportive of the plan, and this is something I will support the Chief Constable in implementing.
“The acknowledgement from the Chief Constable that policing still contains racism, discrimination and bias is a positive step in the right direction - and I am committed to bring about the necessary change to tackle this issue head on.
“I concur with the Chief Constable that we have fantastic officers and staff, some may feel aggrieved by this statement but we have an opportunity to demonstrate that North Yorkshire Police is an anti-racist service which will root out racism at every opportunity and I feel that the organisation as whole will support this.”